'Burası Türkiye!' 'This is Turkey!'

Thank God For That!

thou shalt not . .

So, here we are then – almost there! The last day of Ramazan. The end of the (at this time of year) long hours of abstinence; of food, drink, smoking and sexual relations.

OK! OK! So I'm egging it a bit - some days it feels like this!

The end of trying to sleep away the gnawing pangs in the stomach; the end of desperately searching for something to do to take the mind off thoughts of food and water and the craving for nicotine; the end of feeling the need to hang around my house with a shotgun, blasting the life out of anything that moves rather than picking on wives or neighbours!

Tonight, as the cannons boom out from our nearby towns signalling the downing of the sun and the sighting of the new moon, they will mark the end of this final day of fasting and the start of Şeker Bayram (Sugar Holiday). Three days spent indulging children and stuffing them full of every sort of sweet, sugary confection imaginable – it’s a bit like ‘Trick or Treat’ without the tricks – everyone is trying to ramp up the blood-sugars of every, already hyperactive, chavvy. These dear little souls wander about the neighbourhood in small gangs; school rucksacks on their backs (to carry the kilos of sweets); smiling sweetly at any adult they come across until another fist-full of sickly bon-bons is handed over. Do I begrudge these young mafiosi their loot? Not at all! J and I are happy to cough up the ‘protection’ because we don’t have to live with them when the tooth rot sets in and anyway, I for one, don’t want them spreading malicious, ‘Scrooge’ rumours behind my back.

Turkey's Oldest Ramazan Drummer

To my Muslim friends and neighbours who have observed the 28 days of Ramazan; upholding one of the Seven Pillars of their Faith – ‘Congratulations!’ To the children – ‘Şeker Bayram, kutlu olsun!’ To the rest of us heathens – ‘Sweet Dreams!’; we’ll get to sleep the night through without drums or loudspeakers blaring out at some un-godly hour! ‘Kutlu olsun’ to you too!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

ps how wonderful – it’s started to rain; time to go lie out in the garden and soak it up !


6 thoughts on “Thank God For That!

  1. Made me giggle, that photo of the girl and the jelly beans. Also made me giggle, the description of managing the hunger pangs. Did you do some fasting as well? In typical secular style, M. had no idea it was Ramadan until a few days ago whilst my work mates, still not believing that being married to a Turk could NOT involve veils or fasting at Ramadan, keep asking me what fasting is like…

    1. No cannons booming down the end of your street then? Fasting? Moi? Physiologically I can do without food for fairly long periods – it’s all the other stuff that lets me down! (I don’t smoke and all the heart pills keep the libido down – I’ll leave you to work out the weakness) As for your work mates; that wonderful imagination of yours can come up with some thing to have them all agog! ‘Tales From The Harem’? 😀

  2. Alan,
    Great post and so much that we relate to up here in Istanbul. Do the drummers come door to door in your neck of the woods seeking recompense as well? I’m never sure quite what to do. I appreciate a good tradition and this one too is fun most nights – but not always. I much more enjoyed handing out candy to our kids friends – though like Christmas morn, they too were up way too early beating on our door. A great post Alan. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Hello Aaron, Good to hear from you and thanks for the compliment. I live a mile up a track into the mountains with no one beyond us so we get little by way of drummers or much else which suits us greatly. The drummers were banned in neighbouring Dalyan a few years ago because it upsets the tourists and foreign residents, would you believe? ‘Why do they come here?’. In our main town of Ortaca the tradition continues. Regarding the recompense – as this is like the Muslim ‘Christmas’ I’d treat drummers like carol singers and kids like kids. When we’re feeling grumpy there are always ear plugs 😀
      Best, Alan

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